Henry Poole Is Here

Posted: August 15, 2008

We meet Henry Poole (Luke Wilson), unshaven and morose, as he bids on a tired tract home on a tree-lined Los Angeles block. No negotiations, he instructs the Realtor, who thinks he should offer below asking price. Henry's antsy to move in, lock the door, and wallow in his own gloom.

But the neighbors keep on knocking. There's well-meaning Esperanza (Adriana Barraza), Spanish for Hope, with home-made tamales. There's the luminous Dawn (Radha Mitchell), with fresh-baked cookies. And there's Patience, the supermarket cashier with the coke-bottle glasses, on a pilgrimage to his stucco wall, believed to possess miraculous properties.

In Henry Poole Is Here, filmmaker Mark Pellington's pleasant, if insubstantial, sermon on community, connection and faith, can the skeptic in emotional lockdown open himself to hope, patience and a new day?

Handsomely photographed by Eric Schmidt and nicely underplayed by the actors, the film relies too much on its jukebox soundtrack to convey mood.

While believers will find reaffirmation in Henry Poole, nonbelievers might remain unmoved. Pellington's parable of faith preaches to the converted. - Carrie Rickey



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